Weekly Update: Take hold of this moment

Image

Recently won union recognition or in the process of organizing your union now? Want to learn the fundamentals of what to do next? Come to the New Union Academy! In this 6 week online class, you’ll meet fellow union activists from across the US, learn from top Rutgers labor educators, and get the knowledge and power you need to win that first contract and beyond! 

Learn more here.

Join us for the return of the Socialism Conference this Labor Day weekend in Chicago! EWOC will be hosting a panel about our organizing and the revival of the American labor movement, and will be joining a DSA panel on Rank and File power in the labor movement today! We’ll also be hosting a workplace organizing training on Saturday at 5:00pm during the meet up sessions for conference attendees. If you’d like to volunteer that weekend with us please sign up here for a tabling shift or join us at the training.

Image

When President Biden said “I intend to be the most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in American history”, he set some pretty high expectations for himself. While it was exciting rhetoric, most did not really expect much, and they were mostly right. However, one area in which Biden has been a clear improvement over his predecessors is in his pro-labor appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, which has shifted the balance not just to a democratic majority on the board, but a genuinely pro-labor majority, one which has proved useful in the organizing wave of the last year.

Thanks to that new pro-labor majority, the NLRB officially filed a complaint against Starbucks last week, stating their practice of expanding wages and benefits only to non-unionized employees was illegal. The complaint follows a particularly spurious claim by Howard Schultz that because all of the unionized stores are in the middle of collective bargaining, Starbucks cannot unilaterally change wages and benefits in those stores outside of the bargaining process. That implies that bargaining is happening in good faith, even though Starbucks is delaying that process as much as possible.

The NLRB complaint, which came from a field office, will be heard by an Administrative Law judge on October 25th. If Starbucks appeals the ruling, it will go to the full board for a final ruling. The result could have a major impact on unionization efforts at other corporations with  many shops like Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and now Chipotle.

Having an NLRB that is favorable to workers has been an invaluable advantage, but like so much else about the current moment, we cannot expect it to last forever. Now is not the time to slow down. We will keep organizing, keep building, keep fighting to create a better world for working people.

Image: Newly unionized workers at Chipotle in Lansing, MI

World of Work 🌍

MI Workers at Chipotle in Lansing voted overwhelmingly to unionize with the Teamsters, in a historic victory forming the first union at the company.

MA – Starbucks workers in Brookline are now on day 43 of their strike. Dozens of strikes continue to emerge across the country. Starbucks Workers United has called on Starbucks executives to testify about the company’s union busting campaign before congress. 

CAA majority of the dancers employed at Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in Los Angeles filed for a union election. “We like what we do,” said one worker. “We would like our jobs even more if we had basic worker protections…it’s not a choice between suffering abuse or quitting. With a union, together, we can make needed improvements to our workplace.”

NY – Following protracted contract negotiations, 6,300 healthcare workers represented by SEIU and CWA, employed by Kaleida Health, have moved to a strike authorization vote, which will take place the week of September 12th. Workers have protested chronic understaffing which undermines the safety and effectiveness of staff and the health of patients.

Week in Labor History 📚

This Week in Labor History 📖

August 29, 1996 – Dancers at the Lusty Lady in San Francisco club vote to unionize with SEIU Local 790. Their first contract, ratified several months later, established guaranteed work shifts, protection against arbitrary discipline and arbitration, a grievance procedure, sick days, and wage increases. The campaign was groundbreaking as a model for successful strip club organizing. Although the Lucky Lady closed in 2013, the legacy of the workers and their union continues today.

Solidarity,

Team EWOC

EWOC is a collaboration between the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE). We depend on small-dollar donations to provide frontline workers with the support they need to fight for protections during COVID-19. Click here to make a contribution that will help fund our work.

Talk with an Organizer

An EWOC organizer is ready to help you and your co-workers get the benefits and respect you deserve.

Recent Posts

A worker’s story

One nonprofit worker shares how organizing became a way to protect workers who had supported the mission that they felt was missing from the organization

Read More »
Starbucks Workers United

Ask a Starbucks Organizer: Kylah Clay

In Boston’s Allston neighborhood, Kylah Clay, a 24-year-old barista and law student, decided to reach out to Workers United about unionizing her store last October. We spoke with Kylah as her store’s election was in-progress. When the ballots were counted, she and her coworkers had won their union in an unanimous vote.

Read More »